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Crummy Gummy

16 Artworks Made From Sweet, Sweet Gummy Bears

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Crummy Gummy

You might be surprised by how many artists choose to work with gummy bears. Here’s a small sample of the many creations artistically crafted from these sweet snacks.

1. Fit for a Candy Palace

While artist Yaya Chou doesn’t exclusively work with gummy bears, she is the most famous person in the gummy art world. Perhaps her most best-known gummy work is this lovely, and quite fancy, chandelier that I would be quite happy to hang in my home.

2. The Gummy Bear Necessities

Here’s another of Yaya’s most popular pieces, a bear rug made out of gummy bears. If gummies weren’t made with gelatin, I’m willing to bet PETA would be in full support of switching out all real bear rugs with this candy equivalent.

3. Sweet, Sweet Skin

If you prefer your gummy skin rugs to be built with only gummy parts, then perhaps you’d prefer this one by artist Brock Davis.

4. Sail Away, Sail Away

Artist Jenice Johnson has a knack for capturing gummy bears in their native environment. In fact, here’s one setting sail for new adventures. Let’s hope he stays safe—after all, loose lips eat ships. You can buy prints of all of Johnson’s delightful gummy images on her Gummy World website.

5. The Gummy Bear Company Picnic

You may have heard of a teddy bear picnic, but have you ever heard of a gummy bear sack race? Only Jenice Johnson has been lucky enough to catch one of these rare events in person and as you can see, they really are a riveting experience.

6. Chewy Classics

For those who prefer more classical art forms, artist Johannes Cordes creates entire full-sized portraits from sweet gummy goodness. He not only recreates paintings by famous artists such as da Vinci and Warhol, but also makes his own creations from the snacks. In fact, he goes through over three tons of gummies in a year.

7. You Wear What You Eat

Wish you could just wrap yourself up with delicious gummy goodness? Then you might want to hire stylists Hissa Igarashi and Sayuri Marakumi to build you a custom gown like this one, inspired by a real dress by designer Alexander McQueen.

8. Born This Delicious

I admit, I always thought Lady Gaga’s meat dress was kind of stupid, but now that I’ve seen the gummy version, I think it really does make an interesting statement. OK, not really, but I do love this Gummy Gaga by Florida artist Crummy Gummy.

9. Ethics-Free Medical Experiments

Being a mad scientist seems like it would be kind of fun if it weren’t for all those terrible, nagging ethical issues. Fortunately, Instructables user Fungus Amongus has a way for anyone to perform brain transplants, heart surgeries, and more without the guilt of creating a mutant creature—just use gummies instead!

10. The Science of Delicious

This periodic table by Kevin Van Aelst may not be scientifically useful, but it has all the elements of a tasty snack.

11. The Bears of Death

What could you do with a hot glue gun and some gummy bears? Chances are couldn't do anything as impressively elaborate as Emily Souleret, a sculpture student at the University of Richmond, who made this impressive skull with nothing but those two components.

12. Oh the Bear-manity

Why should you eat gummy bears? Because left on their own, they are a brutal, horrible culture that practices ritual sacrifice on their own just for the heck of it. DeviantArt user hal9002 has the proof.

13. Silent Candy

Are scary video games like Silent Hill too spine-tingling for your taste? Well maybe you should try modding them so all the characters are gummy bears. After all, DeviantArt user KaiKudo’s gummy Pyramid Head is drastically less scary than the one you see in the game.

14. Gummy Wars

Ever wonder how the Star Wars franchise would play out if reenacted by gummy bears? While I can’t tell you how the whole series would work in candy form, thanks to Tracy Sloan, I can at least show you what Darth Maul’s death scene would look like.

15. This Tender Moment

There are so many pictures of gummy bear murders online that it’s just so refreshing to finally see some happy gummies sharing a precious moment together. Special thanks to Pinar Adar for showing just how touching gummy love can be.

16. Hot Gummy on Gummy Action

Normally a kama sutra picture would require a NSFW warning, but a gummy sutra picture is only NSFD—Not Safe For Dieters. Matt Duke created this masterpiece to help celebrate Valentine’s Day back in 2007.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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technology
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Weird
Creative Bar Owners in India Build Maze to Skirt New Liquor Laws
June 20, 2017
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iStock

Facing a complicated legal maze, a bar in the southern Indian state of Kerala decided to construct a real one to stay in business, according to The Times of India. Aiswarya Bar, a watering hole that sits around 500 feet from a national highway, was threatened in 2016 after India's Supreme Court banned alcohol sales within 1640 feet of state and country-wide expressways to curb drunk driving. Instead of moving or ceasing operation, Aiswarya Bar's proprietors got creative: They used prefabricated concrete to construct a convoluted pathway outside the entrance, which more than tripled the distance from car to bar.

Aiswarya Bar's unorthodox solution technically adhered to the law, so members of the State Excise Administration—which regulates commodities including alcohol—initially seemed to accept the plan.

"We do [not] measure the aerial distance but only the walking distance," a representative told The Times of India. "However, they will be fined for altering the entrance."

Follow-up reports, though, indicate that the bar isn't in the clear quite yet. Other officials reportedly want to measure the distance between the bar and the highway, and not the length of the road to the bar itself.

Amid all the bureaucratic drama, Aiswarya Bar has gained global fame for both metaphorically and literally circumnavigating the law. But as a whole, liquor-serving establishments in India are facing tough times: As Quartz reports, the alcohol ban—which ordered bars, hotels, and pubs along highways to cancel their liquor licenses by April 1, 2017—has resulted in heavy financial losses, and the estimated loss of over 1 million jobs. Aiswarya Bar's owner, who until recently operated as many as nine local bars, is just one of many afflicted entrepreneurs.

Some state governments, which receive a large portion of their total revenue from liquor sales, are now attempting to downgrade the status of their state and national highways. To continue selling liquor in roadside establishments, they're rechristening thoroughfares as "urban roads," "district roads," and "local authority roads." So far, the jury's still out on whether Kerala—the notoriously heavy-drinking state in which Aiswarya Bar is located—will become one of them.

[h/t The Times of India]

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